Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that Kosovo has agreed to open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, making it the first country with a Muslim majority to do so.
The Kosovo embassy announcement came shortly after Netanyahu said the two countries had agreed to establish diplomatic ties following a similar announcement by US President Donald Trump in Washington.
“I welcome the announcement of Israeli PM @netanyahu about the genuine intention to recognize #Kosovo and establish diplomatic relations. Kosovo will keep its promise to place its diplomatic mission in #Jerusalem,” President of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi tweeted.
Also on Friday, Serbia committed to moving their embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the first European country to make the move.
Serbia is not a member of the European Union and thus is not bound by the same policy considerations as the 27 member EU states.
Netanyahu welcomed the news stating, “I thank my friend the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic” for the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move his country’s embassy to it. I would also like to thank my friend President Trump for his contribution to this achievement. We will continue our efforts to move more European countries to Jerusalem.”
He added that the embassy relocation was yet another achievement in strengthening Israel’s diplomatic relations and in its efforts to ensure that Jerusalem was recognized as the capital of Israel.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also addressed the historic advancements in Israel’s diplomatic relations with Serbia and Kosovo, and thanked the American administration for continuing to lead Israel to major foreign policy breakthroughs, according to Walla! News.
“The US is Israel’s most important ally,” Ashkenazi said.
Accordng to Ynet, Ashkenazi also took the opportunity to call on other countries to “follow in Serbia’s footsteps and move their embassies to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.”
He added that “Jerusalem will be a bridge of peace to the whole world.”
Most of the international community does not formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, holding that such recognition should come only as part of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which east Jerusalem would be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
To date only the United States and Guatemala have embassies in Jerusalem.